Monday, August 23, 2010

Trip to New York City for the Retail Excellence Awards 2010

My husband, Nathan, and I headed to NY, NY on Friday August 13th for the Retail Excellence Awards (REA) 2010 where Swagger Gifts was a finalist for an award in Branding/Integrated Marketing. 

When we got to the Helsinki airport we were a little bummed to see that our KLM flight was cancelled, but we were quickly rebooked on a Finnair direct flight into JFK, and as we were getting on the plane we were upgraded to FIRST CLASS!  No Friday the 13th bad mojo for us!  Woo hoo! 

You have to go for the Champagne when you are suddenly now seated in 1st Class!

Cheers to already having a great weekend!

The best part about Finnair's 1st Class?  The seat laid down completely horizontal to sleep - no jet lag for us!

Nathan's Grandfather and extended family live on Long Island, so we took this opportunity to spend a couple of days with them.  It is always great to spend time with family! 

Family Photo!

Sunday we headed down to NYC for the REA Gala.  We stayed with some of our friends who live in Manhattan.  I love meeting the kids of people you have know since college or high school - it is so funny to see the mini me version of the party guy or girl and know that they are in so much trouble in another 15 years or so:)!  Good thing both Nathan and I were perfect angels as teenagers and college students so we won't have anything to worry about once we have kids!  (A girl can dream - right?)

Finally it was time to head down to The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers for the awards ceremony.  The venue was beautiful and I'm sure the view would have been great if it wasn't pouring down rain.:)  The Retail Excellence Awards Gala is put on by Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine, and the entire event was top notch - from the catering (so good!) to the story boards about each of the finalists - it was a night I won't soon forget!  There were about 250 industry professionals in attendance - everyone from manufacturers, to rep groups, to store owners.  I was a little worried we wouldn't know anyone since it was NYC and not Atlanta, but we mingled with people from some of the companies Swagger purchases from and had a great time! 

You know I had to wear a zebra dress if I was going to be accepting an award for marketing!:)

The awards were announced after dessert (seriously could they make us wait any longer!), and I was SO excited when they called Swagger Gifts as the winner of the Branding/Integrated Marketing Award!  After a short video they put together on Swagger, I had to make my acceptance speech!  This was the part I was dreading - I'm not an extemporaneous speaker - but Nathan helped me put something together in case Swagger did win and it was a hit.  I even had a couple people come over and tell me it was the best acceptance speech:)  Yeah for Nathan being a Toastmaster and for his coaching!

Yeah - Swagger Won!  I have to give a shout out to Lisa Jeffries at Raleighwood Media - because without her I know we wouldn't have received this award!  You rock Lisa!

Either sister seriously needed some powder or there was a major glare off the huge silver platter!  Let's go with the glare:)

Great weekend in NYC which was topped off by getting first class seating on the way home too!  Now I know how the other half lives and I don't think I want to go back:)  An unforgettable weekend for sure!