Becky, Julie, Barbie, Me (Do we look alike?!)

So…I went to Orlando this past weekend — and it was awesome! Weather was perfect everyday — though I was mostly shivering inside the hotel working our conference.

Just looking at the sunshine and knowing it was there for later helped 🙂

But, really, I was excited because my family was able to come visit! My cousin Becky lives in St. Petersburg, my Aunt Julie in Ft. Lauderdale and my Aunt Barbie in Jacksonville. They all made the 1.5-3.5 hour drives to Orlando to spend the day with me on Saturday and I was SO thankful!

We drove all the way into Disney World for lunch at the Grand Floridian, where we had a tropical cocktail and a delicious meal! I mean, check out that tomato salad (so good!):

Becky also brought her husband Glenn so he paled around with the ladies all day. We even caught a trip on the monorail and driving past Disney made me REALLY want to go there. It’s been years since I went — so long that I literally don’t remember!

I made do buy buying Giovanna and Marshall some gifts to give them when I’m home next week. I must become the Aunt they love because she brings presents! Speaking of which, Becky hopped into the soap store while I wasn’t looking and came out with this lovely bar of soap for me:

It was nice we got together since I’m not having guests at my wedding and these family members aren’t able to make it home for just a bridal shower. I was so glad I got to spend the day with them catching up, laughing and chatting.

 After they left me back at the hotel, I had the rest of the day to myself. This sounded like bliss. I laid down by the pool, sipped a drink and slowly read Runners World. I’ve realized what a great publication it is with such quality writing and unique stories. Normally, I’m slamming through it while running on the treadmill but I think I’m really missing a lot by doing that!

After a few hours by the pool, I got in the hot tub (not seen) and then was back up to my room for some room service.

I paid an obscene amount of money to rent “The Impossible” which I’ve been dying to watch. It was actually a beautiful, touching, wonderfully filmed movie. I’ve heard criticism of it that the film only highlights a white family hurt by the Tsunami and not the native people who lived in the area. However, everyone’s struggle is just as worth portraying in my opinion and I hope they do make a movie featuring that.

And, oh yeah, I had a panel that went really great on Friday! I moderated a panel on social media advice with representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter. Here’s a shot of us on stage (sorry for the blur — everything was iphone this weekend):

Me, Katie Harbath, Anton Vuljaj, Lachlan Markay

The thing about social media discussions is that they always evolve where they are. I always learn something new even when we are covering something I’m pretty expert in.

We talked about the power of social to move a message or a cause. Specifically on Twitter, we talked about how the case of Dr. Gosnell — the murderous doctor charged with killing infants after birth in botched abortion attempts — was not being covered by the media but an army of folks on Twitter started an uproar about that very thing — and THEN coverage was everywhere! It was Twitter that made it happen. There really is “power to the people” in social media.

Anyway, the Omni Orlando was beautiful — and all the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. I especially liked the cleaning staff — they were always extremely smiley and seemed to be in good moods. You don’t find that everywhere! They had a beautiful golf course and a huge swimming area with a lazy river, kids play tower, large swimming pool and large hot tub. I felt so relaxed on Saturday!

Do you ever get to travel for work to fun places like I do? I feel really lucky! Also, have you seen the power of Twitter or other social media to move a message? Tell me about it in the comments!
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