Another work trip, and this was definitely my favorite one! This one felt like a major milestone for me because of all the firsts that took place. It was my first time on a cruise, the first major event that I was in charge of, the first one that I was the only supporting staff for, the first time I spoke on a real estate panel, and the first time feeling truly confident travelling and networking by myself. And this trip was especially important because it everyone there for the event truly bonded. Even after leaving AREAA, I'm still in contact with some of these people and have friends from all over the world now. Another cool part of this trip was that it was the last trip of my already amazing, travelling summer, and the day after I returned home would be my first day at SDSU.
First thing's first, I went from San Diego to New Orleans where I stayed at the beautiful 'The Mercantile' hotel. And full transparency, theEDGE leader who put the event together with me had a little bit of an emergency with expected number of attendees. We had to powwow the day before the cruise event that night in New Orleans where we rearranged the entire schedule and put together a new program to better fit the audience.
The next day was boarding day. We were on a Carnival cruise heading to Cozumel, Mexico. We took the time to meet with a few of the attendees for drinks while we waited for our rooms to be ready. This is when I got to meet some of our sponsors for the first time and they quickly became friends. The rooms were ready and they were beautiful. It was a nice touch to send out event attendees a bottle of champagne, a bottle of wine, and some chocolate covered strawberries. Then I had to hop online and work remotely for the majority of the day before meeting everyone for dinner.
The following day was the day of the event. I woke up early, made sure our conference room was set up, and then was thrown to speak on a millennial real estate panel... I was so nervous because I really don't know anything about real estate. I'm only an event coordinator after all. But then the conversation started, the questions were asked, and I didn't do half bad. After, I asked one of the guests what they thought and they said that my perspective was refreshing... I was shocked. That jolt of confidence helped me for the rest of the trip. I was networking, kept the show running, and proved myself as the youngest person there.
The following days passed almost too fast as we had a great, relaxing day at sea and then an excursion at Cozumel. I paid to go to the Tulum ruins, an anthropological site (I figured it would be a great way to see an important place before starting my semester at State), and a few of my new friends joined me. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of excursions if you have the money. We were a little cranky towards the end of the excursion because of the heat and we felt we were left at the site a little too long. We would've liked to see more of the surrounding area near the port, which our other friends did and had just as great of a time.
Our free time on the boat was filled with tanning, lots of food, drinks, laughter, and great memories. By the way, definitely splurge on the unlimited drink passes. They aren't really unlimited but you get 15 drinks a day which is more than fair for all the drinks you could get. I can't believe how much fun we had and how close we all got. We hung out at the pool deck, the water slide, dinners every night, we went to a comedy club, the piano bar, the actual club, and just hung out all the time. It was refreshing to have such a great experience while doing so many things that I've never done before.
If you have the opportunity to travel with a group of people that you only know through association... do it! You could make friendships that last a lifetime and many memories that certainly will.
Places to Eat in Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach, or PB, is a San Diego favorite! For those of you who aren't familiar with PB or are visiting San Diego, here's a list of some of my favorite PB destinations! After a day on the beach be sure to head to any of these places for a continued San Diego experience.
Other Breakfast and Brunch places
Lunch and Dinner
Bars and Nightlife
I hope that my recommendations help you explore one of my favorite places in San Diego and that you create great memories with your friends and family.
Do you have any favorites that aren't listed? Add them in the comments below!
1st Time in New York City
What a dream! New York City has been at the top of my travel wish list since I was a little girl. I wish I could've made a Sincerely Travel video, but I really needed to keep this trip as private as possible. As you know from my last blog post, I've been through A LOT recently. When the opportunity presented itself to get a cheap vacation, I jumped on the chance. So, let me tell this story from the beginning.
I was invited to be a plus one at a wedding in Boston, and I was very hesitant to accept this invitation at first. I had just gotten out of my relationship with Alex and the person who asked me was a member with AREAA. Well, later that same day that I was invited, I was fired because the organization was completely terminating my position. It took a little convincing from my other AREAA friends, but I soon accepted the invitation. The idea then came to me to extend my stay on the east coast for a few days (if I didn't have another week left of school, I probably would've stayed an extra week or two and just enjoyed some free time that I've never had before). When talking to one of my friends about the extension, he offered to have me hang out in New York. I was 100% in! Like I said, New York has always been a dream of mine so I had to jump on the chance to go.
I battled with myself quite a bit because I was nervous to go and was scared of hurting Alex, but at the end of the day, I knew that this trip was for me, myself, and I. I needed a chance to escape my reality and experience something new. I'm so glad I did. I don't want to share too many details but believe me when I say there is a reason for everything. If you ever get the chance to travel somewhere for free and have an opportunity to live out one of your dreams, you MUST do it! One of my dreams or fantasies when I was little was imagining myself in a New York apartment watching snow fall from the sky... it doesn't seem like anything crazy, but when I lived that, it was absolutely magical.
Now for some details from the trip. I flew into Boston and stayed at the Intercontinental Boston for the wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception that led to a night full of dancing and meeting new people and seeing some familiar faces. One of the best parts about working for a national or international organization is making friends from all over the world.
The next morning, we took a charter bus to New York City. It took 6 hours and I fell asleep on the bus after reading a few chapters (a girl still has to make time for school). But I woke up just in time to look out my window and see the New Yorker hotel and it's large, vintage sign. It was straight out of a dream. I then took a cab to the apartment that I was staying at and outside the window was a perfect view of the subway passing by- exactly how I imagined my New York apartment to look. While I was settling in, it started snowing! San Diego girl... never really seen snow fall from the sky, especially for there to be enough that I could run around in and catch snowflakes on my tongue. It was perfect.
I took an Uber to Barclays Center where I met my friend for the Nets game. We ended up in a suite where some of his business associates were networking and watching the game. After that it was back to the apartment where I ordered takeout and lived out my best "Friends" New York City fantasy. The next morning, I woke up and visited Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, the Public Library, Bryant Park, 5th Ave, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall, all of which I definitely recommend you visit. It was a lot to squeeze into a short amount of time before my flight that night - which was delayed! With the delayed flight I was able to see more than was actually planned for, but it made the trip home and school the next morning a little tough. Don't worry, I'll post a "what to do when your flight gets delayed" blog later.
Through and through, New York City was an amazing time and even more breathtaking city. My only regret is not being able to see everything but I can guarantee you that I will definitely be going back (fingers crossed sooner rather than later). Also, if you're ever in a rut, don't be scared to take some time to travel by yourself and take some space to clear your head. It doesn't solve your problems, but it definitely doesn't hurt to get some clarity. Sometimes, all you need is distance and privacy.
My first National Convention as AREAA's Event Coordinator was a success! Of course it came with its highs and lows but that's expected with any trip let alone a work one. Through moments of stress and doubt, it was my coworkers and friends who kept me motivated to push through the negative thoughts and make this the best convention ever!
The event consisted of 19 breakout sessions, 1,200 attendees, 3 keynote speakers, and a variety of networking events that celebrated our sponsors, members, and our incoming leadership for 2020. My most memorable parts of the event all include being able to participate in the networking events. As an event planner, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing the event come together and hearing about how much everyone enjoyed it.
I'm so grateful to have developed so many friendships within AREAA already, to the point where it's okay that they poke fun at me because I'm constantly working when they see me. They know it comes with the job though and are willing to wait up for me to celebrate with them. I loved that I was able to bring my best friend Maddie with me because she was a life saver. It's also nice to have someone you know well help you through the mental process of planning and hosting an event.
Towards the end of the event, I began to get sick from lack of sleep and stress, and probably the cold air, but it was all worth it. What was super helpful was that Maddie made sure that I took care of myself and other AREAA friends would bring me little care packages with either medicine or food. I am so grateful to have the best support team! I guess it takes a village in all stages of your life!
I wasn't able to get out of the hotel and explore the city until after the event. Fortunately for me, my Uncle John lives near Boston, so he and his family were able to show me around and take me to the local spots. Of course they gave me the tourist spots first, showing me around the Freedom Trail, North End, and Fanueil Hall, but my favorite part was going into the local pubs and being able to catch up with family that I haven't seen in over a decade.
When I travel, I always notice similarities and differences between other places that I've been to. The streets and roads reminded me of Paris, and in some sense, the older architecture did as well, especially the gold dome on the Capitol building. The modern buildings reminded me of San Francisco and how condensed these tall buildings are built within the city's landscape. Seeing the old architecture hidden in the shadows of the modern skyscrapers were pretty inspiring as well. I think this contrast and blend of architecture throughout the city will be what makes Boston stand out to me.
Our last day in Boston, it was just Maddie and I. We explored on our own for and headed down Newbury St and visited Fenway Park. Overall, it was a great trip and Boston is an amazing city. It wasn't as cold as I was expecting, which was good, but still chilly nonetheless. I am definitely planning on coming back to spend more time learning about the city and visiting the sites.
Part of me wants to go in great detail about every second of my trip, but the other part wants to leave these parts to myself and let you see the pictures and videos. You tell me! What do you think of Boston based off the pictures and video? Have you ever been before? Let me know what your favorite places are!
PIFE - Spain and More!
I cannot believe the amazing trip that I was able to take this summer with my hula family Kaleo Onalani to Spain for PIFE (Pacific Islander Festival of Europe)! It was such a wild experience full of ups and downs, but in the end it was all worth it and I wish I could go back.
Our adventure began by taking a bus ride to LAX, an 11 hour flight to Barcelona, a one hour flight to Calafell, and a 5 minute walk to our apartments with loads of luggage and costumes. We spent went was left of our first night and the following day getting acquainted with the area and spending lots of time on the beach of Calafell. Then we had a day to visit Barcelona and sight see on a hop on hop off bus. It was amazing to see the landmarks you hear about and see in movies but in person. (Pictures below). The next day was filled with teaching hula and tahitian workshops and practicing for our first performance.
Our first performance was in a courtyard in the shadow of an old abondaned castle in this quaint picturesque town. It was amazing and we gave 110%. The mana we felt from the audience was unreal and we were able to spend the rest of our night celebrating and drinking wine at a beautiful hotel nearby.
The rest of our performances quickly approached and each one was followed by a night of celebrating with our family. We performed on the big stage at the event, on the beach, and even had small flash mobs practically every where we went.
Although we saw some beautiful places, performing and the mix of emotions that came after every show was the highlight of the entire trip. People in Europe really don't get to see the culture, and to see audience members crying after our performance was so humbling. They said that they were inspired by us, but their reactions and stories inspired us in return.
After 13 days in Calafell, our flight arrangements were messed up so we had to fly to Paris for 2 days. It was a dream come true to be able to end our trip in the City of Lights. We took another Hop On Hop Off Bus to take us to see all the major attractions. With only a couple days we didn't have time to go inside and visit anything specifically, but we were able to learn about the history and take lots of pictures. On our second day in Paris, we got to cross Disneyland Paris off of our bucket list! It's small than the OG Disney and California Adventures in Anaheim, but it still packed all the fun. I really enjoyed that Disney Paris had larger (and just overall more) rollercoasters that packed more of a thrill-factor. And of course they pay homage to Ratatouille.
The next day we were on a 12 hour flight chasing the sun from Paris to Los Angeles- no seriously, I didn't see any night sky for the entire flight! This trip was once in a lifetime and I'm so grateful for the deeper bonds that were created between my hula family, the places that we were able to visit, the "first-times" that we were able to experience, and the impact that we were able to make.
Cvent CONNECT 2019
My next work trip took me to the lively and sinful city of Las Vegas... for some not so sinful activity. My manager Carrie and I went for this year's Cvent CONNECT 2019. Cvent is an event planning tool that is the literal lifesaver for event planners. CONNECT is their annual convention where they offer trainings, product reveals, and other great experiences. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the product, to network and connect with other event planners and hoteliers, and to get some ideas for our own personal events.
I flew in the day before the event started and was able to have a night to just relax. The first official day was all about the educational sessions and program training. It was a long day of learning that ended with a walk down the strip and dinner at Trattoria Reggiano in the Venetian hotel. Of course you get to see all the cool architecture in the hotels and all the crazzies on the streets.
The next day was filled with shorter sessions (thankfully) and an opportunity to explore their Innovation Pavillion, which displayed new tech and features in the company. It's pretty cool to see how the brand is expanding and absorbing smaller companies that are sure to help the one-stop-shop experience of Cvent. I spent the night staying in my room to catch up on some homework and video editing.
Now the third day was the fun day. It opened with a keynote speech from the one and only Abby Wambach, the all-time men and women's goal scorer and FIFA World Cup Champion! She was a great speaker and definitely a highlight of the trip. The the Tradeshow Hall was opened and I was able to complete my mission of gaining lots of ideas for out National Convention Tradeshow (which will be one of my main projects over the next couple of months). Then I took a tour of the MGM Grand where I got to see the arena and the VIP High Roller Sky Lofts. After that was another keynote speech from Chef and Humanitarian, Jose Andres. He was absolutely hilarious and one of the most genuine people I've ever seen on stage. Then I got the chance to clean up and get ready for a night of fun.
Carrie and I were invited to dinner at Bavette's Steakhouse and Bar by the New York City Convention Bureau. The food was so amazing and definitely something I'll never forget. Then, as part of the convention, Cvent rented out Hakkasan club and we danced the night away. After having a few too many drinks, we all thought it would be a good idea to go to Loser's, a country bar downstairs in the MGM. It was a great time and we met the singers who had some really dreamy voices. But of course, we paid for it the next morning.
On the last day of my Cvent Vegas trip, we listened to one last keynote, Amy Cuddy, psychologist and renowned TED Talk (power stance) speaker. She was awesome and gave some really great tips on public speaking and owning your power. Then I was off! I went to lunch with Alex's Nina Christina and Nino Eddie (as mentioned in previous blog posts they just recently moved to Vegas) and their two beautiful kids, Sophie and Eddie, at LazyDog. Of course I had to spend some time with them! My trip to Vegas wouldn't have been complete without them!
After some really delicious salad and heartfelt conversations, they dropped me off at the airport and I was off to San Diego.
Since I was a little girl, writing was always my go- to way of expressing myself and escaping from the rest of the world.