Sunday, July 3, 2016

Citi LEA at Fontainebleau!

This is an epic post, so get ready and settle in! :)

Also, any photos shown on this post without my copyright mark were taken from Jeff Yardis' website. Mr. Yardis (a.k.a. Flash) graciously allowed Citi employees to download their favorite photos from his website for free! Yay! I couldn't find a copyright disclaimer anywhere on his website, so I feel it's okay to post them here on my blog. That said, I want to give him full credit because he did such a wonderful job documenting our trip! He literally took hundreds, if not thousands, of photos and did it all with a happy smile. Thank you, Flash!

Big News!
On February 9th, 2016, my husband, Greg, received notice from his employer, Citi, that he was a winner of the 2015 Leaders in Excellence Award! The LEA is a huge deal within Citi, so the fact that Greg was chosen as a winner was amazing news for him and me! Before I knew all that the LEA entailed, I was just happy that Greg's name was sent out in a company-wide email with the word winner attached to it! Ha ha. After I truly understood what LEA was all about, I cried happy tears!

You see, the LEA means that the winning employee and one guest are flown to an exciting destination for four days of vacation, service, and pampering! What I found to be unbelievable is that just four days earlier, I had had a little conversation with Heavenly Father (God). I prayed to him in tears because I was just so exhausted with life and all of my seemingly-endless responsibilities and financial burdens (this prayer came the day I found out my child needed outpatient surgery). I knew I could keep going as I always do, but I was worn out! I told Heavenly Father that I just needed a break of some kind! I talked to Him about how I could really use a second honeymoon, or something like that. Then, I cleaned up my tears and went on with my day.

Never in a million years did I expect to have my I need a break! prayer answered so quickly! That marvelous news given to me just four days later literally gave me the emotional/mental/spiritual boost I needed to keep going with a smile on my face! And the fact that that great news came the day before my child's surgery is no coincidence—and no one could ever convince me otherwise! Yes, Heavenly Father loves us so very much!

Before receiving Greg's amazing LEA news, I would have never thought that a five-star free vacation was possible for us! If someone had told me we'd be staying at the beautiful Fontainebleau hotel in Miami, FL, I would have kindly laughed in their face! Yet our good news was true! Greg has always been—and will always be—a winner to me, and the fact that his company recognized his awesomeness—in one of the best and most public ways possible—was just a dream come true! :)

Over the next several weeks, Greg received emails with updates, dress codes and teasers of what would happen at the LEA in Miami. They even sent Greg a cookie tin to get us excited for staying at Fontainebleau! Mission accomplished! When Greg received this adorable package, it's safe to say that I pretty much freaked out in a great way! Their careful consideration of Greg made him feel pretty special! Yet little did we know that Citi's teaser tin was just the beginning!

I had a fabulous time searching for my perfect dress for Citi's LEA Gala—the main event! At first I went shopping in a few brick-and-mortar stores, but I didn't have any success. All the formal dresses seemed to be aimed at high school proms, which meant they weren't very modest. I found a lot of other fun outfits, but not a dress worthy of such an important gala! Thus began my endless online search for the perfect dress. It took me a few days of serious and time-consuming searching, but I finally found my dream gala dress in the Lauren by Ralph Lauren line! Macy's had the dress on sale at a dream price, so I felt pretty darn great! My gala dress arrived a few days later and fit like a glove! Yippee!

This is my dress, except I bought it in bright blue! (I couldn't find a photo of the blue version.)

The only problem with my amazing gala dress was when I tried it on and realized the slit on the lower left side went up above my knee a few inches—which doesn't work with my temple garments. (If you have questions about temple garments, check out this video “Mormon Underwear” is the Temple Garment and is Sacred to Latter-day Saints.) Macy's photo and product information didn't bother to mention the highness of the side slit, so I was pretty upset. I worried that I would have to return my perfect dress (Say it ain't so, Plucky!), but I decided to text my amazing seamstress friend and see what she had to say. My friend designs and sews costumes for our high school's and city's local theater productions (She's that good!), so I hoped she could help me out.

Thankfully, my friend was able to sew the side slit of my gala dress closed to just below my knee. She did such an amazing job, no one would guess the side slit had ever been any higher than it is now! I tried to pay her, but she wouldn't let me. She said she was just happy to help. I totally owe her big time!

After my gala dress was ready to go, I re-read Greg's information email about the LEA's other events. I realized I needed a casual dress for the first night's event, and a cocktail dress for the second night's event—even though I don't drink cocktails! Ha ha. I looked at my dresses and decided my favorite teal dress would work for the first night, but I didn't really have a cocktail type of dress, so I began searching online. It didn't take me long to find it! I just didn't know if I could justify the price—even on clearance, so I kept looking for a better deal. After searching online for a few days, I realized I just wasn't going to find a dress I liked better than the one DM Fashion had to offer. They also had my perfect "cocktail" dress left in only my size, so I knew I'd better buy it before it was gone! I happily ordered it and when it arrived in the mail, I was so excited! I was stunned at how well it fit and how awesome I felt in it! :)

Some of you might laugh at my enthusiasm, but when I find dresses that 1.) are modest enough to cover my beloved temple garments; 2.) fit well enough to make me feel hot at my age; and 3.) are beautiful and high quality...well, I can hardly contain myself! I get so excited because I simply love dresses! As I think back about my life, I've loved dresses since I was a teeny little girl...not much has changed! :)

Getting ready for our big trip to Fontainebleau meant Greg and I had to prepare our children. Don't laugh, but Greg and I have never been away from our children at the same time since our oldest son was about twenty two months old—and even then, it was only for one night! Yes, we've taken turns being away from our children, but never both at the same time. I asked my mom if she could stay with our darling children for those four days and thankfully she was available. I consider her openness a miracle because of her retirement schedule—for she's been ultra busy traveling the globe for the past two years!

I updated my piano students with our schedule and made sure my church's Mia Maid class responsibilities were delegated to others. I cleaned our house for hours to make it somewhat ready for my mom. You see, one of my mom's quirks is that she'll just start cleaning your house if she think's it's dirty! (Everyone has a different version of clean!) I didn't want her to have to do any cleaning while we were gone—and told her as much, but my clean-freak {in a nice way} mother cleaned portions of our house anyway! There is just no stopping that clean woman! Ha ha. I went food shopping and filled our shelves to capacity. I created a list of possible menu ideas for our children, but I never set a menu in stone because I want our children to have options and choose what they're in the mood to eat. I paid all of our bills online and made sure we had money in our checking account for unexpected expenses. I created a daily schedule for my mom to follow so she would be able to keep track of my kids' schools and other activities.

I felt really prepared, which felt really great! :)

Greg and I awoke very early Monday morning, May 23rd, to be ready for our flight at 7:00 a.m. I was extremely tired because my mom had just flown in to SLC the night before. She didn't arrive at our house until about 10:45 p.m. Sunday night! We hugged and talked for a quite while.

Sorry for going off-track for a moment, but this part must be shared.

You see, my mom's little sister—my darling Auntie Susan—had just passed away that very morning. Aunt Susan had been battling breast cancer for nearly five years, but her prognosis became terminal within the past six months. Within the last two weeks of her death, her symptoms had become unbearable, so she utilized Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. It was a very difficult situation for our family to accept, but Aunt Susan was a strong woman who knew her mind, stuck to her beliefs, and refused to be a burden to any of her loved ones. While I will never support such a choice (I'm pro-life in every way until the day I die! I believe Heavenly Father is in charge of how long we live on this earth, and I accept His will.), I supported my Aunt Susan and helped my mom see it in the same way. No one should ever die alone if there's an option for someone to be there with them. Aunt Susan's daughter, sisters, and my brother were also there for her last days, hours and minutes. I'm happy knowing she died in the presence of many of her loved ones.

End side track...

Greg and I were very quiet as we left the house. I was excited to go, but a little nervous to leave my babies. I know they say that flying is one of the safest modes of travel, but our crazy world has ruined that mindset for me. There are too many recent news stories about plane crashes! Thus, I prayed and prayed! Thanks to life insurance and willing family members, I knew our children were set for life if anything happened to Greg and me, but I still worried because I want us to be the ones who raise our children! All of that said, I felt confident that all would be well. Again, I was prepared for whatever. :)

We arrived at the airport and started the process of checking in. Everything was great until the TSA agent pulled me aside because my medical ID bracelet and hair elastic in my pocket made the scanner alarm go off. She checked my bracelet, read my health conditions, and I showed her the elastic that was in my pocket, but she insisted on patting me down anyway! Then she had the audacity to give me a drug test on my hands! I was annoyed beyond belief!

I later complained to Greg that she probably thought I was a drug risk because I didn't have any makeup on and I probably looked like an addict. Greg totally laughed at me and said, "They always do the drug tests on the least assuming people because then they don't have to actually do anything." I wouldn't listen to him and kept trying to figure out the reason(s) she wanted to humiliate me with the pat-down and drug test. Greg laughed again and strongly said, "Adrie! They know they're not going to find drugs on you—that's why they check you! Then they don't have to do anything extra! TSA agents are lazy!" I still wasn't convinced and promptly walked to the bathroom to put on my makeup. I was darned if people were going to look at my pale face and think I was a druggie! Ha ha.

Greg texted me while I was in the bathroom that he had bought breakfast for me. I came out and proudly said, "Now they can't think I'm a druggie!" Frustrated, Greg said something like, "Oh, Adrie! It's not because you didn't have makeup on! Now eat your omelet!" My poor frustrated Gregor! ;) I admit, our breakfast tasted really really good! I was so happy to have a hot meal—that I didn't have to make(!)—when I was feeling so picked on.

After we finished our breakfast, I said to Greg, "I really hope there aren't any crying babies or kids on our plane because I can't handle it when children are sad. I just want to comfort them and make everything better, but I can't because they're not my children and it's none of my business! Plus, I'm so tired, I really want to sleep this morning.

We boarded the plane and I was swept away by the beauty of the sky out our window. After so many weeks of waiting and preparing, I couldn't believe we were finally leaving to Miami!
It was such a pretty morning! :)

Little did I know that my crying children statement was prophetic, for there was a crying little two-year-old in the seat right behind me! We had a four-hour flight to Atlanta, and sweet little Ava cried for probably two hours! I'm not trying to be mean, but if Ava's loud mom was my mother, I would cry for hours on end, too! It was painful to listen to Ava's mom's lack of parenting skills—it still makes me cringe. Apparently, Ava was the fourth child in her family. I can't imagine living in that scenario, and Ava showed us with her tears just how frustrating her life was! I know, I sound incredibly judgy, but the facts don't lie. I listened to Ava's mother's parenting style for two hours and you can learn a lot about a person in that period of time while stuck on a plane. Yes, my sleeping goals flew right out the window. I think I maybe had about 35–40 minutes of shut-eye, total. #sleepyAdrie!

Thus, we were so happy to deplane and finally find some peace and quiet in the busiest airport in America! Oh, the irony! Ha ha. I was blown away at the size of ATL. When we took the escalators, I felt like I just might become dizzy if I looked straight up or down! It was super cool when we saw the Nigerian soccer team riding the escalators with us! They were speaking so differently than anything I've heard before! And I must say, it was really funny to look out of the corner of my eye and see them openly staring at me! I think they must have been shocked at my paleness for I was equally fascinated by their chocolaty darkness!

My favorite part of the Atlanta airport is their subway system! We got on and I felt like I was surfing! I seriously wanted to bend down just like a surfer and jump the waves! I told Greg, "Hey! I could be a subway surfer!"—which is an app/game my kids love to play. Greg just laughed at my silliness, but I couldn't contain my excitement! If there hadn't been so many people on the train, I totally would have done it and made Greg record me on his cell phone! Ha ha.

Even though we weren't exactly starving, Greg and I decided to find something to eat because we knew we'd be too busy when we landed in Florida. We felt so happy when Greg found us a delightful little frozen yogurt and smoothie shop. With all of Greg's business travels, he's become quite the airport foodie and knows where the good food is! After I ordered my chocolate frozen yogurt with strawberries (so super yum yum!), the darling cashier said, "You have some beautiful eyes!" I said, "Oh, thank you so much! You just made my day!" she smiled and said something like, "Well it's true. I've never seen eyes like yours before!" Thanks to Annie's kind words, my feelings of being slighted by the TSA lady were slowly fading away! :) Thank you, Annie!

We made our way to our next gate and Greg said, "Hey Adrie, there's your friend, Wolf Blitzer—you're in the same city as him!" Confused, I said, "What?" He pointed to the TV and reminded me that CNN is filmed in Atlanta which is so super cool! We happily watched CNN until our plane was ready to board. Thankfully, our second plane trip was much easier than our first. I don't really remember much about that two-hour flight other than I slept on-and-off for about an hour and 45 minutes of it...success at last! :)

When we made it to Miami, I was so excited for the ocean humidity in the air! It felt soooo good to my skin and hair! Humidity is probably the only thing I've really missed about Texas—and, sadly, my dry hair and aging skin show it! We made our way to the baggage claim and picked up our luggage. Shortly after that, Greg noticed Citi employees with signs saying they were waiting to pick us up! In that moment, I felt just like Rose and Sadie in Big Business! I couldn't help saying in my best Sadie Ratliff hick accent, "I feel so cosmopolitan!"

We waited for the Citi charter bus and made small talk with other LEA winners. When we got on the bus, I was so happy to have a seat with legroom and a foot rest! It felt heavenly compared to the squishy airplane seats. I'm pretty sure long-legged Greg was even happier than me!

Our drive through Miami was super interesting. I'd been to Miami in 1995 when I was a nanny and my employer took us there for two weeks over Christmas. It was fun being on the very freeway I remembered from 20 years ago! I was happy our bus ride wasn't very long—Google maps says it's approximately 16 minutes!

As we pulled up to Fontainebleau, I got even more excited! Our tour guide explained that Fontainebleau's employees would get our luggage out and take it to our rooms—we just needed to make sure we saw our luggage in their possession before we checked in. I felt a little strange just leaving our belongings in the hands of strangers, but trusted that everything would be okay. We got off the bus, saw our luggage, and headed inside Fontainebleau! Aahh! We finally made it!

The guy at the Fontainebleau reservations desk was super friendly. While I want to say that his friendliness was genuine, I don't believe it. Either he had a crush on me (unlikely), or he was just hamming it up because Fontainebleau makes their employees brown nose their guests (probably). Whatever the case, he upgraded Greg and me to a junior suite in Trésor Tower! Even as I write that, the skeptical business side of me thinks, "Were we really upgraded, or did Citi pay to have us in a junior suite from the beginning? Or did the reservations guy just want us to think he was doing us a favor? Was he lying at the detriment of Citi's good reputation?" Whatever it was, I was beyond thrilled that we got to live in a Fontainebleau suite for three nights and four days...I'm not complaining! :)

After check-in, we headed to the Fontaine Ballroom for Citi's registration and welcome fun! Because we traveled so far compared with other LEA winners, we arrived pretty late in the day. The majority of LEA winners had arrived between 10:00 and 2:00 p.m., so the room looked as empty as this when we arrived. I wasn't complaining though because it meant we didn't have to wait in line for anything! We just headed right up, registered and got our welcome packet!

This is our welcome packet! We used it every day to keep us on schedule and would have been lost without it!

These are the identification tags we were given for the week. Citi explained to us that because of Fontainebleau's high profile events, we would need to have these ID tags on, or they wouldn't let us in the door! (I love that Fontainebleau has security guards everywhere!) These happy tags suddenly became our best friends!

This is Citi's LEA Who's Who Book. We didn't think to look at it in depth before any of the events and probably should have. That said, Greg made good connections with the people he already knew, so I don't feel too badly about it! Still, I wish I would have paid more attention, but lesson learned if Greg is ever an LEA winner again!

I found my handsome Gregor on page 84! It was so exciting to see him listed with such wonderful accolades!!

After we looked at our welcome packet, we headed to their Tommy Bahama shop. Instead of Citi giving everyone a traditional Citi embroidered item, they decided to let everyone choose one item from Tommy Bahama! I was like, "What?! I get to go shopping for free?! This is so awesome!!!"

Greg chose a long-sleeved, blue and white checkered button-down shirt from the second table in the back (you can't see it in this photo).

I chose a blue and white sun dress from the racks on the far right (you can't see it in this photo). The selection was a little slim because we were there so late in the day, but I'm so happy with what I chose! It's the perfect beach dress!

After the Citi workers had us sign our names to say we received our Tommy Bahama's gifts, they sent us over to the bag and beach towel station and let us choose whatever combination of beach towels we wanted. Greg and I chose blue and red towels with white stripes! (Greg got blue, I chose red.) In our beach bag, Citi also gave us a huge bag of pretzels with gourmet dips, and a big package of instant coffees—which we would never use. We were then sent to the pink-shirt table. Those happy pink shirts were for our upcoming day of service.

Fontainebleau Life, day one!
After we got all of our stuff, we headed into the Sparkle ballroom for a little while. I wasn't happy we were there in all our airplane travel glory, but Citi's helpers highly recommended that we go there first before going to our hotel room. Reluctantly, I went in to the ballroom and was pleasantly surprised that many people were there in their airport yuck, too! I was happy we weren't the only ones not dressed up.

Boy, were we glad we didn't go upstairs and change clothes beforehand! For we were able to hear their surprise guest speaker, Michael Corbat—the CEO of Citigroup—speak to us! While I knew Michael Corbat's name, I didn't know anything about him. Previously, I felt like his yearly bonuses were a little over-the-top. Yet after hearing Mr. Corbat speak and being exposed to all-things Citi from his perspective, I've changed my mind. His presentation was amazing. His knowledge level is of the highest caliber. To think of everything he is responsible for...well, his leadership skills absolutely merit his high salary! The magnitude of it all blows my mind and would make me nervous if I were in charge of Citi!
This is my cell-phone photo...not the greatest quality.

This is Flash's photo...obviously a professional photographer's camera shot this! Ha ha.

About an hour later, after Mr. Corbat finished speaking, Greg and I finally headed up to our hotel room. It was quite the walk across Fontainebleau's property and I loved every minute of it! When we arrived, I couldn't help but take photos of our suite!

Here is my pretty Tommy Bahama beach dress bag! They wrapped it in tissue paper with a cute sticker. My bag matched the Fontainebleau couch pillow, so of course I had to take a photo of them together!

Yes, I took two photos of our bed because I wanted to get both angles!

I absolutely loved their ink-pen artwork in the bathroom!

While most people want an ocean view from their balcony—which is more expensive and means those rooms are supposedly worth more—I actually preferred our city bay view. I really like people watching and seeing many different things besides a big blue ocean. Our view was the perfect mix of beauty and interesting happenings! :)

After we got our fill of our junior suite, we changed into our nicer clothes for Citi's dinner. This is one of my favorite dresses that I bought several months ago—also from DM Fashion! Their high-quality modest dresses are seriously the best!

And here's my favorite, Gregor!

We liked the hallway outside of our suite so Greg had me pose there, too!

Our dinner was super yum-yum and we were relieved they still had some when we got back to the Sparkle ballroom (we were late)! It was a great buffet with oodles of choices. Greg and I were pretty hungry from our long day, so we were happy to have so many options!

Our entertainment near the end of dinner was the comedian Ryan Hamilton.
I downloaded this image from Ryan Hamilton's website.

We laughed and laughed ourselves silly! Not only was Ryan's act freakin' hilarious, but his entire sketch was actually clean! About halfway through his performance, I wondered if he was LDS. I wanted so much for Greg and I to be able to meet him and thank him for being clean and for making us laugh so hard! But I didn't worry too much about it since I knew he was a big-shot comedian from NYC; the chances of us getting to talk with Ryan were slim to none. That said, I simply wanted to say, "I knew Ryan Hamilton before his big break!" But apparently he's already made his big break! He's famous! Here are the YouTube links to Ryan's fabulous performances:

After dinner, Greg and I wandered around Fontainebleau. While I wish I could have taken these photos during the day, I wanted to document our first night there.

Of course we had to visit the Fontainebleau gym! We decided right then and there that we needed to go change and get in a quick workout before the day was over...after another photo op!

This photo doesn't show me doing leg lifts all the way. I'd like to state that I can lift my legs fully horizontally, but I didn't want to show inside my dress! Ha ha. After we changed and went to the gym, I did 30 full leg lifts! Yeah yeah!

This was the bottom entrance to our hotel building, the Trésor Tower—it lead out to the pool area. I really liked the huge pillar!

We're total dorks and had to take an action pose in front of the mirror. Of course my cell phone camera didn't pick up the light like we needed, but at least we remember our fun together!

This is the entrance to our junior suite—it's a hallway leading in from the other hallway pictured above. We loved our secluded little area in the corner of the building! And I love that we needed our room key to even get the elevator to take us anywhere in the first place! We felt very secure at Fontainebleau!

Could you "die" at this amazing night view?! I was pretty happy with my shot! :)

I really liked this historical Fontainebleau photo book on their table! :)

But first, let me take a selfie! I was simply so excited to go workout in a gym! It's the first time I'd done that in two years!

Greg and I had a great 30-minute exercise session. I sweated it up on the eliptical and a few other machines, while Greg pumped a bunch of iron. Before we knew it, it was closing time. On our way back to our hotel room, we actually saw Ryan Hamilton sitting at a table with a couple of girls. Based on his act (seriously watch the videos linked above!), we were like, "Way to go Ryan! You got a date with two women!" Ha ha. We didn't want to interrupt, but we also didn't want to miss our chance of telling him how awesome he was! So we went over and awkwardly said, "We loved your act! You made us laugh so hard! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!" He thanked us and then said something like, "Wow, you just got done with the gym? You're dedicated!" I said something stupid like, "Well, I love working out!" Then we headed off. As we neared the Trésor Tower elevators, I said to Greg, "Oh man! I should have said that we go to the gym because we don't drink alcohol, either! (Again, you need to watch his sketch videos to get what I mean.) We could tell him he can use our story in his act!" Ha ha. As if Ryan Hamilton would find our actions interesting enough to include in his act! Yeah, probably not! Still, we were pretty excited to have talked with him and let him know how much we enjoyed his talents. :)

We headed back up to our room and called our children. We were so excited to call them, and they were so happy to finally hear from us. We chatted for probably 25 minutes, or so, then we showered and gladly went to bed!

Fontainebleau Life, day two!
The next morning started off with a delicious breakfast buffet. I was overcome at their amazing choices; I was in breakfast heaven! Seriously, though, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day—hands down.

It may seem silly, but I really liked these Fontainebleau bathrooms. They were so sleek, shiny and clean! I probably feel that way because my own bathrooms are lacking the cleanliness factor a bit! Ha ha.

I was impressed with Citi's morning activity after breakfast. They explained our day of service: feeding hungry children by packaging dry food donated by Citi; and outfitting less fortunate children with school supplies. Citi has a great program to help end child hunger. Here's the link if you'd like to contribute: Citi Dine For Kids. If anyone is skeptical of Citi's "No Kid Hungry" program, simply think about the fact that the majority of people use credit or debit cards these days instead of cash. The money your credit card company earns from you simply swiping your card either stays with them, or you could have Citi donate a portion of it to help hungry children! I think it's a great idea!

We were then surprised with an uplifting performance—he sounds exactly like Frank Sinatra—by Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.—winner of America's Got Talent, season six!

This is the video Greg took of Mr. Murphy—isn't he fantastic! I'm impressed that Landau loves doing charity work for the less fortunate and makes it his mission in life. Not only is he an amazingly talented vocalist and performer, but he's fun, personable, kind, and down-to-earth. Seriously, what a guy!

Next, we headed into the Glimmer Ballroom and began packaging food for those sweet, hungry children. We had a great time working with our team, filling bags and boxing them up! I was the box packer which was the perfect job for me. I've used packing tape so many times for our 11 moves! Even though I was working hard (I actually got a little sweaty!), I had to take time out for photos. I wanted to document our service because I love serving others for such worthy causes! :)

Seriously, can you even believe the scale of what Citi donated? Think about the money it took to fund this production! Think of all the thousands of children we fed through our service! It just made me feel so good for contributing to this awesome event. I believe our entire group packaged over 230,000 meals that morning! It was such a great feeling knowing we helped all those hungry children! :)

This was our beans and rice team! You can barely see Greg and I at the back of the table, leaning over. We had a lot of fun making new friends and talking for hours with each other!

I nearly jumped for joy when I saw that Flash captured this photo! Even though it's not the greatest shot, it's awesome documenting us working hard together! :)

Can you tell I'm excited with our progress?! :)

Greg and I didn't pack the school supply backpacks, but I wanted to share these cool photos anyway. I have a thing for backpacks, school/business/office supplies, etc. Those types of stores are some of my favorite places to shop!

After we finished volunteering, we headed outside into the hot sun to look at the beach. This beautiful photo was taken by Flash, but I had to share it here. I love the beach! I love the ocean! I love watching sailboats on the ocean while standing on the beach! :)

Flash took this photo of us, but apparently he just takes them candidly! I think Greg misunderstood that Flash was ready to take our picture when he clicked the button! Oh well, at least I smiled on time! ;)

I love this selfie SO MUCH! It's too bad that Greg's front camera lens was a little dirty. Oh well, at least we have the memory! I would title this, You and me, me and you, both of us together! That's one of my favorite lines from Monster's Inc.!

This is one of my favorite ocean views!

I took this photo after we went back inside for lunch in the Fontaine Ballroom—where we checked in the first day. I love their blue lights!! Lunch was good, but, surprisingly, it wasn't my favorite. Luckily for me, Fontainebleau redeemed themselves with dessert!

After lunch, Greg and I were really happy to have a few minutes to ourselves! We changed into our swimming gear and headed out the door! This photo doesn't have great resolution, but I wanted to document my happiness at going swimming in the infamous Fontainebleau pool!

This is our glorious day by the pool! It's amazingly picturesque, isn't it?! We had such a wonderful time swimming together! The water was clean, clear and the temperature was perfection! I didn't put sunscreen on because we knew we were only going to be there for maybe 20 minutes. That said, I was really upset later that I didn't put on sunscreen because had I known how awesome the pool was, I totally would have stayed swimming longer! We ended up getting out of the pool and resting on the lounge chairs in the shade. It was exactly what my tired soul needed!

In case you were wondering, this is a very happy boy! :)

I know my copyright is silly on this picture, but I didn't want my entire stomach available for the internet to see—yet I still wanted to show my cutest swimsuit I bought from Hapari on super-duper clearance last year! They have amazing swimsuits that I love so much!

I love the Fontainebleau logo on all of their luxurious towels! It took us a while to find available lounge chairs that weren't reserved, or ones that you had to pay for. I was really grateful when we actually found a free spot to claim as our own! I think there should be a Fontainebleau font we can download online! :)

When we came back to our room after swimming, this lovely bag with a candle and card was waiting on our bed! The card read,
"Today you joined colleagues and friends as ONE team to bring light and hope to the greater-Miami community. 
Your generous gift of time and talents will touch thousands of lives through nutritious meals and much needed school supplies. Thank you. 
Now it's time to unwind and relax. Please enjoy this gift...a Fontainebleau Signature Fragrance Candle. It's the perfect calming scent for someone who has been burning their own candle at both ends—celebrating AND helping our communities. 
We salute you with this keepsake of Miami. May your inner light always shine bright. 
Citi 2015 Leaders in Excellence
N.A. Consumer Banking Citi Stars"
We were both touched by their thoughtfulness and recognition of our efforts. That beautiful candle is sitting in our kitchen, but I have it closed to keep the scent fresh, and open it only when I want to remember our time at Fontainebleau! :)

We showered and got ready for the individual business receptions. I was super excited to wear my new Paris dress (its retail name), so I was beyond happy with the way it turned out! I'm grateful I spent the extra bit of money because this dress is one of my absolute favorites! This photo was taken on our balcony—right above and in front of the boats! :)

For Greg's department's business reception, we headed to the Splash rooms. We gave our very best efforts to connect with people so they'd remember Greg if any future Citi positions opened up that he wanted to apply for. That employment scenario won't happen for a long time because we're so happy where we are! But I know eventually one day, Greg will want to apply for a job that's above his current position, and those business connections will come in handy!

I was surprised that their photographer (one of Flash's employees) took so many fun photos of Greg and me! Our faces are a bit goofy because we didn't realize he was taking it, but I'm super glad the photographer snapped it because that guy whose hand I'm shaking is the main boss of Greg's entire department! Greg met him once at Citi's Utah office, but he didn't remember Greg because he meets with hundreds of people a year! So yeah, we felt super awesome that the CEO of Citi's Retail Services wanted to stop and talk with us for a while!!

Below we're watching Greg's boss' boss' boss give his speech—we're over on the right.

In this one, we're watching the CEO of Retail Services give his speech. Is it bad that I'm happy he kept staring at me during his speech? I'm just hoping that whatever reason he was looking at me for helps him remember Greg! Ha ha. :)

We met and talked with so many great people that night! I had (what felt like) some real heart-to-heart talks with a few people. I'm glad we made connections with each other in such a positive way! I know Greg did the same—he's great with a crowd! Although I must clarify: it's pretty easy to have memorable interactions with Citi's top 1% performers! People who use their knowledge to the best of their abilities, work hard, and are kind to others, well, you can expect only great things to happen! :)

After the business receptions concluded, we headed back to the Sparkle Ballroom. We were supposed to have our dinner and entertainment outside, but because of rain they moved us in doors. Greg and I mistakenly chose a table near the front of the room by the stage—it was deafening! We could barely hear the people at our table without shouting. My one critique for Citi is this: pop bands are awesome for the LEA, but you must have them turn down their speakers! How can we bond with those people at our tables if we can't hear each other speak?! I'm not complaining, just making an observation of what would work better for Citi's LEA next year. :)

Again, what is with the awkward faces when Flash takes our photo?! We've never struggled so much with taking photos! Ha ha. But I still say I'm so grateful for these photos! They're the best memory!

This is the DJ setup Citi put together at the end of dinner so people could dance and drink more before LIV (Fontainebleau's night club) opened up.

Greg and I headed out around Fontainebleau's property to take some photos. Greg was super excited to see this Ferrari boat in the bay and just had to take a picture of it with me in front of it...I felt sort of like Vanna White! Ha ha.

So we tried a bunch of times to take a good photo in front of Fontainebleau's iconic sign, but it just wasn't working with the street lights in the background. Greg did a good job taking my picture, but the one I took of Greg with my older cell phone wasn't so great...

This is one of my favorite photos of Fontainebleau! Our junior suite is up there on the 19th floor, left-hand balcony!

We came inside and I was ready to take a photo of the Frank Sinatra hallway. I'd wanted to capture it ever since we arrived, but there were always too many people in it. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! :)

You'll never guess who we ran into in the elevator hallway of the Trésor Tower...Ryan Hamilton! He was talking with another couple who asked us to take their picture with him. Thus, we totally asked that couple to return the favor! Ha ha. We ended up talking with Mr. Hamilton about how we met him the night before—that we were the ones who just came back from the gym. Greg mentioned how I had a better comeback for why we were at the gym on vacation so late and made me tell Ryan. I delivered my thoughts (about us working out also because we don't drink alcohol) fairly okay and he laughed a little—out of sheer kindness, I'm sure! Ha ha. But then we really got to talk with him and found out that he's indeed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! :) Yay! It was fascinating hearing his quick life story and how he ended up doing stand-up comedy. He's a really great guy. I hope—and will seriously be praying for him(!)—he finds his eternal companion very soon! :)

After talking with Ryan (and feeling so lucky that we did!), we went up to our room because we were bushed after our busy day. We knew the night club, LIV, was opening shortly, but we just didn't know if we'd make it there, or not! After calling our children, talking with them about their day, and saying goodnight, we rested in front of the TV for a while. Around 10:30 we decided to venture downstairs because we didn't want to miss anything. When we first arrived at LIV, they had an awesome photo booth, so we joined in the fun with these two photographic gems! Flash was so engaging as he told us how to pose—I love that he really wanted us to be close to each other!

When we went inside LIV, they had another photo booth that looked really cool. You can't tell it from this picture, but the light was a really cool greenish color. Again, I felt so cosmopolitan! Ha ha. They took this photo of us first, and then the gif below. I copyrighted this photo because they took it with Greg's very own phone! :)

Okay, we really had no idea what we were doing for this gif! They just told us to move like we're dancing, and that was it! I'm sure if we had known how the gif would turn out, we could have performed differently! But I absolutely, completely and totally LOVE our first gif together! The fact that it was taken at such a famous location is pretty darn cool! (The Kardashians, Bieber, and many other famous people have partied there!)
*I see that this didn't download to my blog, so here is the link to view our first gif! 

Here are more photos of LIV:

I love my handsome Gregor!

Apparently, drunk people really like to photobomb!

So guess who we ran into again at LIV?! Ryan Hamilton! He saw us struggling to take a selfie and offered to take a photo for us. See, I told you he was awesome! :) Even though this photo quality is terrible, I totally love it!

This second one was a little better. I cropped the white-skirted lady because it didn't look so good when the colors were truer to life.

Here are the photos taken by Flash. I think LIV's decorations are pretty cool! I also think that this would make a great dance club—without the alcohol, of course!

I wish Greg and I would have seen this neon robotic performance by some members of Citi's Senior Leadership Team! Sadly, they did it near the opening time of the club, so we missed it.

Greg and I stayed in LIV for a whopping 14 minutes! (I have the time documented through my cell phone photos.) We were initially excited to go in LIV, but we soon realized that when people are plastered drunk, they're really not coherent enough to have a decent conversation. Thus, we went into Fontainebleau's lobby and decided to sit on one of their plush couches.

I took this photo of Fontainebleau's amazingly gorgeous chandelier and was thrilled at how it turned out! Of course it's lacking the super-fine details because it's a cell phone camera, but I love it no matter what! We headed back up to our room about 15 minutes later. Tiredness was creeping into our conversation and we realized we were done. It felt absolutely divine getting ready and climbing into our big fluffy bed!

Fontainebleau Life, day three!
Waking up on day three was a bit of a struggle. As much as we enjoyed sleeping in, we decided to kick ourselves into gear and go get breakfast. It was a delicious breakfast buffet and I totally had seconds! By that time, I was getting very used to Fontainebleau's kind servers. I was feeling mighty close to being a princess and I loved every minute of my royal reign! Ha ha.

We were so excited because our day was completely open until 5:30 p.m. There were many activities to choose from: golfing; a day at the beach/explore Miami; or an Everglades tour. Greg and I both happily chose a day at the beach, but we chose not to explore Miami for it would cut into our swimming-in-the-ocean time! I also didn't want to go anywhere near the Everglades because of my major fear of alligators, crocodiles, and snakes!

This is the Tommy Bahama's dress I chose at Citi's free store. Not only do I sincerely love it (and so does my teenage daughter), but I love that it was free! Greg snapped the first photo when I wasn't looking. Normally, I wouldn't share such a photo fail online, but it made me here we go!

To the beach! :)

This ocean makes me feel so peaceful...I love it! :)

These are Citi folks under the umbrellas. We felt pretty special!

This man of mine makes me so happy!

I felt quite artistic when I took this photo. I'm even happier now with the way it turned out!! :)

This was the view from my beach chair. It was literally the perfect day!

After taking photos, into the ocean we ran! Greg and I stayed in the ocean for at least two hours before taking a break. I had the best time diving under waves and body surfing! I also loved just floating under water while the waves pulled me this way and that. We finally got out when we were tired and decided to go get our lunches. As we walked up the boardwalk, I couldn't help but take another Fontainebleau photo! I feel pretty good about how this one turned out, too!

When we were back inside Fontainebleau's property, Greg spied wonderful little water stations—probably made of fiberglass. They had loads of ice, water, and sliced up lemons, limes, and oranges in them. The water was addictingly refreshing! We had at least three full glasses each!

After visiting the restroom to clean out the huge amounts of sand in my swimsuit (which means I was an awesome ocean participant! Ha ha.), we made our way to the Luster Gallery. We received the cutest little Fontainebleau lunch bags containing the most delicious lunches! We made our way through Fontainebleau, trying to decide where to eat our lunches. We finally settled on a quiet patio outside the Bleau Signature shop and were very pleased with our haven-like find! It was my favorite lunch yet! Granted, it was only our second lunch, but I was truly excited at how yummy it was! It probably tasted better because I was utterly famished from swimming in the ocean! 

We made our way out to the beach again and digested on our beach loungers for a little while. I gasped when I suddenly realized I forgot to fully sunscreen my left arm—it was already turning pink! I also felt like my face had received too much sun from the ocean rubbing off my water-resistant sunscreen. I reapplied sunscreen in those places, but when it stung as I put it on, I knew I was in trouble! Obviously I wasn't as sunburned as I could have been, but for pasty-white sun-conscious me, it was a lot of sun! Yet I knew the damage was done, so I didn't worry too much about it.

Greg and I went back in the water for another hour plus, but then we came back in to take a little rest. As we were debating what to do with our remaining time, Greg received a text from Citi telling us to make sure we were on time to the Awards Reception (before the Awards Gala) because something special was going to happen. Up until that point, Greg and I thought we weren't going to go to the Awards Reception because it was just another time for people to drink alcohol again—and we were a bit done with the partying scene. Yet after the Citi text came, we changed our minds. We picked up all of our beach stuff and went back to our hotel room.

For some reason, that beach walk back to Fontainebleau was one I'll remember forever. It completely reminded me of being a kid again, without a worry in the world!! The sky was the most perfect blue. I loved that my body ached slightly from swimming in the ocean for three hours—it's one of the best workouts a body can get! The warm sun on my wet skin was beyond refreshing! The sandy boardwalk reminded me of when we stayed with my aunt and uncle on North Hutchinson Island in Florida—which was never-ending happiness! And the glorious-sounding ocean waves are pure therapy for the soul! I was bummed to leave that blessed Fontainebleau beach!

When we arrived in our hotel, we were a bit disappointed to see that our room hadn't been done/cleaned yet! We were stunned, but soon realized that our different schedule from the other days probably prohibited the housekeepers from doing our room. Greg called down to the front desk because we were in need of fresh towels. They brought some up very quickly and apologized profusely for the room not being done yet. They asked what time they could come back and clean the room, Greg said after 5:30 p.m.

I admit, I was really really excited to finally be getting ready for the Citi Leaders in Excellence Awards Gala! Everything we had been working towards and waiting for was actually upon us! Don't get me wrong, for I loved every single minute of our Fontainebleau adventure, but I was ecstatic to finally see Greg awarded for his awesomeness at work!

Here I am in my first (and hopefully not last!) awards gala dress! I love that the curtains in our junior suite were the perfect backdrop for photos! The lighting leaves a little to be desired, but I'm not complaining!

Here is my man of the hour, Greg Peterson! We bought this grey suit especially for this occasion, I think it looks super great on him!

Okay, don't laugh, but I'd been waiting months to have my photo taken in front of the iconic Fontainebleau gold wall! Greg found out that this staircase was built only for looks—it doesn't even go anywhere! Ha ha. Well, let me tell you, this picture-taking-addict lady is greatly appreciative of their gold-wall efforts! You'd never know it (maybe you can tell a little?), but this photo Greg took with his phone turned out really dark! Thanks to the genius of PicMonkey—and my artistic eye for color—I was able to salvage one of my favorite photos ever! Don't be annoyed at what seems like bragging, because I'm not. It's just that it took me a really long time of fiddling with all of PicMonkey's special effects to get the colors right on a photo that was so dull it was almost black! I'm so happy with how it turned out because this is one of my favorite memories that will last a lifetime!

Funny story: we asked Fontainebleau's Australian security guard to take our photo! He moved a little too quickly as he took it, so it's a bit fuzzy, but I'm just grateful we have it! It was super interesting to listen why he moved from Australia to Florida...because in my mind, why would you ever want to leave such a fascinatingly beautiful place as Australia?! Ha ha. But he had good reasons for moving, so I guess I'll give him a break. ;) I just love meeting new people and hearing their life stories!

After our gold staircase photo op, we headed upstairs to the Glimmer Ballroom. On the way there, a few people kindly commented on my dress which I greatly appreciated. It feels really nice hearing that you did a good job, especially after I spent so much time getting my dress just right for our special event! :)

As we neared the entrance of the Glimmer Ballroom, I was stunned to see what was happening. Citi's Senior Leadership Team had literally rolled out the red carpet for the LEA winners! All of the Senior Leadership Team members in attendance were surrounding the red carpet in their amazingly beautiful, formal-best clothes, and clapping/cheering endlessly for the LEA winners!

As Greg and I walked down that long red carpet, I nearly started crying. You see, those Senior Leadership Team members were genuinely happy to see and support us! They were honestly proud of Greg's impressive work accomplishments! They truly meant every word of the praise and compliments they had given Greg and me during our incredible week at Fontainebleau! Their actions showed they were backing up every sentence of their kind emails and cards!

In that lovely red-carpet moment, Greg and I felt like the most cherished people on the planet! Even though our walk lasted probably only 30 seconds, I will never, ever forget their praise, adoration, and thankfulness for us!

We headed into the Awards Reception and were excited to see multiple photography stations set up on one half of the room. I was super excited because I felt like I finally got to go to the prom with my Gregor! Yet the Citi LEA Awards Gala was by far better and greater than any prom in history! Ha ha. So yeah, winning! ;)

Greg and I are both really happy with the way our Awards Reception photo turned out! Although, Greg thinks he looks chubby in it, but I told him that's just because his arm is visually in the way of his waist line. He's a pretty fit guy for his age and I couldn't love him more! :)

After about an hour of people chatting in the Awards Reception room, we finally headed to the Sparkle Ballroom for the Awards Gala! We walked in the room and were overcome by the ambiance—it was unbelievable! I made a mental note to make sure we didn't end up near the front of the room again because I didn't want to have to yell to our table friends. I staked out a table in my mind that looked good to me and told Greg about it. As we walked further into the room, one of the Fontainebleau servers stopped us, asked our names, and told us what table we were assigned to. I was shocked that the very table I had been eyeing was our specific table! Then when we walked over to the table, I stood at a chair looking around and asked Greg where he wanted to sit. I said, "Is this good?" We then looked down and saw the table had place cards with our names at the exact seats we were standing in front of! Craziness, right?! I took that experience as a sign that we were exactly where we were supposed to be in that moment. :)

Here is my spot on the table.  They gave us these adorable seashells that were handmade by a woman and her friends who are battling cancer. Yet again, I love that Citi uses its resources to help out those in need. They could have easily picked some random gift made in China that would have been a lot less expensive, yet they chose to support a woman and her friends who needed the money for cancer treatments—and we received a beautiful gift in return!

Greg's beautiful award was sitting right to the side of his place setting! I was so excited about it, I made him pose with it for me!

I don't know if you can see it, but the LEA has Greg's name engraved in it! :)

I stood up to document the room because it was just so exciting!

This was our awesome 60s band for the dinner portion of the Awards Gala.

These are Flash's photos. The color is different than I remember. Surprisingly, I think my little cell phone did a better job of picking up the colors of that great night!

After everyone settled in, we started talking with our table mates. The music was so loud, we pretty much had to keep our conversations to the people one seat to the right and left of us. Otherwise, we had to lean way over to hear another person speak. I made the mistake of asking the man to my right (Greg was on my left talking with the man on his left), "Hi! I'm Adrie. Are you a winner, or a guest?" He chuckled as he said, "I'm not a guest or a winner. I'm a member of the Senior Leadership Team." I said something like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't know!" He said, "No worries." But I think he was surprised that I didn't know who he was because he's pretty high up in Citi. Remember how Greg and I didn't read the Who's Who Book? Yeah, it would have been helpful if we'd at least looked through it! :)

The man to my right and I ended up having such an interesting conversation. It turns out his family lived in Colorado during the exact same same time Greg and I lived in Colorado! They were in Parker and we were in Highlands Ranch—which are pretty close Denver suburbs, considering how huge CO is. Then, when we moved to Texas, they moved to Texas! And we were both in the same city of Flower Mound! Granted, Greg's and my physical address was one street over the Flower Mound border, but all the schools our kids attended were in Flower Mound; I shopped in Flower Mound; our doctors were in Flower Mound; we literally lived our lives in Flower mound—minus our church responsibilities! So that was another unbelievable coincidence. As our conversation continued, we found even more connections that had to do with where our extended family members live; interests; where he and Greg attended college; etc. I also think he and his wife are probably close to the same age as Greg and me. So yeah...craziness!

I always to try to figure out what connections like that mean. The fact that I knew beforehand the table we'd be sitting at—in a vast sea of tables—and that I stood directly in front of my assigned seat without prior knowledge of it, well, I know that man was supposed to meet Greg and me. For what reason(s) we were supposed to spend four hours talking with that kind man, I'll never know. I just know there was something we said that he was supposed to hear. If nothing else, maybe it's another good business connection for Greg? Or maybe it's for what I said to him about mothering? I guess we'll never know!

I had one embarrassing moment: after I'd eaten the braised beef short rib (one of the main course items), I took a drink of my water. I instantly thought I was drinking wine and immediately spit it back into my glass. I said too loudly, "Is that wine?! Because I don't drink alcohol! Did someone pour wine in my water glass?!" Greg and the nice man to my right looked at me with wide eyes and and similarly said, "I don't think so...I think it's just water." I said, "Okay, well it totally tasted like wine to me."—even though I've never had a drop of it in my life!

The nice man got up and went over to the servers area and asked for a new glass of water for me. I thanked him and apologized. I remained quiet after that for a little while because I was mortified at my "outburst"! Ha ha. But I knew I wasn't crazy! I knew there had to have been wine in something I ate, for my taste buds have never failed me before! In fact, I just googled the recipe for braised beef short rib, and you know what? The ingredients list calls for three cups of wine in the sauce! And it's the same type of wine listed on the menu the night of our Awards Gala! See! I'm not crazy! Ha ha. It's entirely possible that one of the servers mistakenly refilled my water glass with wine, but it's more likely that I was just tasting the wine in the braised beef short rib sauce—and, no, alcohol doesn't evaporate entirely during cooking, and I didn't know that before now. Either way, I did not like the winey aftertaste in my mouth!

Thankfully, dessert went much better and was quite artistic! Shortly after dessert, Citi began their awards presentation. We heard from a couple of speakers (I honestly don't remember much of what they said because it was such a long night.) Then they put each individual winner's photo and name up on the big screen as their division, department, and name were read. The Senior Leadership Team members for each division used Citi star-shaped clappers, or their hands, and congratulated each and every LEA winner! It was quite the production, and our hands became tired from clapping for 75 minutes! Yet I couldn't help but clap even more excitedly for those people Greg and I had met during our trip. I was so excited to actually know some additional people on the big screen—even though Greg was the most important person to me! These two photos below show to a small degree what went on. It was really great to witness everyone's happiness!
I'm in this photo somewhere! Can you find me?! :) #where'sAdrie?! (I'll give you a hint: I'm looking almost at the camera.)

When they read Greg's name and cheered and clapped for him, I was lost in a sea of suits and dresses! Everyone was clamoring to congratulate Greg and it was simply AWESOME! I don't think I've ever seen Greg smile so much—outside of our wedding and the births of our three children! Ha ha. I couldn't wait for him to sit down so I could hold his hand and kiss him again. :)

This photo shows the final applause for the Citi Leaders in Excellence Awards Gala presentation. It was an unbelievable production I've not witnessed before and I'll never forget! :)

Even though Greg and I were tired, I convinced Greg to come dance with me on the dance floor! I pointed out that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because we don't know if he'll ever be nominated for it again—Citi's LEA is highly competitive and there are literally hundreds of thousands of employees who are eligible. I also played the "I never got to go to my prom with you!" card, so he felt a little bad and immediately came dancing with me! Ha ha.

I just have to say that Greg and I were wicked-awesome dancers! I was so happy, I totally let go of any inhibitions and completely rocked it on the dance floor—and I did it in three-inch high heels! At one point, I even did chaînés (several ballet turns in a row)! Funny thing is, the guy pictured below with the mohawk (on the bottom right) was totally cheering and clapping for me and I loved it! I was really bummed that Flash didn't get a photo of my fabulous dance moves, but I assure you, I was there. It's interesting because when Greg and I first went out on the dance floor, there weren't many other people dancing. Yet after we strutted our stuff, many more people had filled in—many of them I'd previously seen clapping and cheering for Greg and me! HA! So, yeah, Greg and I inspired dance happiness at the Citi LEA Gala! Yay us! :)

When Greg and I were sufficiently tired and sweaty from dancing, we made our way out into the Luster Gallerie. They had another photo booth (which we didn't participate in because we thought it was the same one we did previously, but it wasn't), and all of the nice photos they had taken throughout the week were printed, framed in cardboard, and on multiple tables throughout the room. Greg and I found our two photos and were super happy with them! We love having perfect mementos of our amazing week at Fontainebleau!

We took my sore feet and headed back up to our room. On the way there, one of the Fontainebleau employees smiled at me and said, "Blue is definitely your color. That dress looks amazing on you!" The reason I share that is because people need to compliment each other more—when it's genuine. I just know how much I appreciated hearing her kind words and I feel we should spread more happiness! :)

We were stunned when we walked through our suite's door to find our room so beautifully cleaned with a bag and a card on the bed for Greg. This photo doesn't do it justice! Just know it was a lovely gift and greatly appreciated!

Here's the card that came with Greg's gift—isn't it sweet? :)

After our shock wore off, I made Greg take one last photo with his Leaders in Excellence Award. Oh, how I love this memory! :)

I also had to document just how happy and sweaty I was from dancing! On our way back from the Awards Gala, we stopped to look over Fontainebleau's beautiful pool area. It was a pretty warm night and the humidity (combined with my sweatiness) did quite a number on my hair!

Here is Greg's award up close. I love that Citi hand polished every award before they put them on the tables before dinner. It shows again just how much they truly care!

Here's our cute photo Citi gave us. It makes me so happy!!! :)

After our adrenaline calmed down, we took showers, watched a little TV, packed up our suitcases, and headed to bed at a very late hour. It was such a great night, I didn't want it to end! :) I set my alarm to go off earlier than usual so I could be totally ready in time for breakfast the next morning. I knew we had a lot to accomplish before our shuttle departure at 10:15 a.m. and I didn't want us to miss anything!

Farewell, Fontainebleau :(
The good news is, I awoke and was ready to go with time to spare on Thursday morning! Greg was mighty impressed with me! Yay! We went down to breakfast right on time so we didn't miss any of Fontainebleau's great food! Outside the Glimmer Ballroom, I just had to take a photo with my favorite meal of the day! Ha ha. Yes, breakfast makes me so happy!

We talked with one last Citi employee and her husband at breakfast and got to know them a smidgen. Although, the wife was definitely a no-nonsense type of person. She was trying to be nice, but I could tell she wasn't really interested in getting to know us. She was ready to go home and made no effort to disguise that fact! Ha ha. But her actions didn't bother me because I understood that maybe something difficult was going on in her life that was taking up more mental space than she had to spare. Or maybe she just truly didn't care, which is fine, too. Everyone has their own ideas of what works for them. :)

After we finished our yummy breakfast, Greg and I walked back down to the Luster Gallerie. I took a photo of these big plants because they reminded me of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I guess Greg wanted to play that role because he's hiding behind one of them—can you find him?! To quote Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, "He called me lady?!" Hahaha.

This is part of the Luster Gallerie—its emptiness is vastly different from the previous night's festivities!

I took this photo especially for my daughter—she loves chandeliers!

Greg and I decided to take a few last photos of Fontainebleau on the way back up to our room. I miss this view!

This is the hallway back to "our" Trésor Tower. It's my favorite Fontainebleau hallway—and yes, I like it even more than Frank's hallway! I like the symmetry, simplicity, and the feelings of peacefulness it brings. :)

I made Greg sit with me on one of the cool matching wooden seats in the Trésor Tower hallway. We were so tired when we took this selfie and it shows!

I also made Greg take this photo in the Trésor Tower elevators. You see, I would always wave at the security cameras whenever we entered the elevator, thus I wanted to remember that happy place! Plus, I just really love making Greg take lots of photos when he doesn't particularly want to! Ha ha.

We made it back to our room and did a final sweep to make sure we didn't leave any of our belongings. We also pooled our dollars together, a few apples, the coffee packages, pretzels with gourmet dip, and left them as a room tip. I don't know if the housekeepers appreciated our presents, or not, but I like to think they did! :) Then we grabbed our luggage and headed out the door.

Even though I was super excited(!) to go home and see our beloved babies, I was a bit sad to be leaving the majestic Fontainebleau and all its amenities—especially the housekeepers, cooks and servers! Yes, Citi absolutely spoiled Greg and me, and I dearly loved every minute of it! As I told some of the Senior Management Team, "Citi has ruined me with this amazing trip! I'll never be the same!" Ha ha.

In all seriousness, I doubt I'll be able to adequately thank Citi enough for our time at Fontainebleau—the marvelous memories they provided us are irreplaceable! The only thing I can offer is what Citi told us they appreciate so much: my support of Greg. Throughout our Fontainebleau week, Citi repeatedly told their employees' spouses/partners just how much our support of our significant others matters to Citi's success. And I fully believe them. It's true that if you have a supportive spouse/partner, you'll do better work—and Citi totally benefits from their employees' cooperative and happy spouses/partners!

As we loaded everything onto the fancy charter bus, I tried to take in every last moment. This was the view from my seat on the bus (below)—the same seat I sat in on the way from the airport to Fontainebleau! I watched life happen outside the bus and pondered that the majority of people working in Miami are just like Greg and me. They have families to provide for, and their budgets are tight. They don't live the extravagant Fontainebleau lifestyle, either—they just work there and provide their services for someone else. The majority of vacationers come only once in a while, some probably come only once in their lives—like Greg and me. When I had that good reality check, I was satisfied in saying farewell to the Fontainebleau lifestyle. I enjoyed it for the time it was given to us, but I was finally ready to go home! :)

After arriving at the Miami airport, we checked in with a very friendly ticket agent (he kept wanting to chat!), tagged our luggage, got our boarding passes, and headed over to security screening. I was stopped by a TSA agent again because my medical ID bracelet set off their alarm—yet they told me I didn't need to remove my jewelry! So I got the familiar pat-down and hand drug test. I was annoyed, but not as badly that time. I realized that what Greg said at the beginning of our trip was true: TSA agents are lazy! They only want to do the minimum work possible and check the boxes required by their bosses: the government.

I was so grateful our flights seemed to go quicker than when we flew out to Miami. It's probably because I was able to watch a movie and an Adele special, and sleep on both flights home! Three cheers for movies, TV and sleep! :)

We arrived in SLC and instantly felt the choking dryness of Utah's air. I definitely missed Florida's humidity! We found our car, loaded up and headed home. The drive seemed to take forever because I was just dying to see our children! When we got home it was the nicest feeling! Yes, we had an outstanding time at Fontainebleau, but spending time with our children again in our very own happy home, well, that's worth everything and then some! :)

What we loved most was the sincere appreciation and love our children showed us. My mom did such a wonderful job of taking care of our three darlings (her loving sacrifices are greatly appreciated!), but it felt amazingly good knowing that our kids genuinely missed us! Of course, our babies' appreciation of us only lasted a few days, but I'll take what I can get! Ha ha.

So I've finally come to the end of my post, can you even believe it?! ;) While I didn't include every minute of our experiences at Fontainebleau, I wrote about a lot of them. I guess I'll close with this:

Thank you, Greg, for always being the stellar employee, husband, and father! Your hard work and dedication made our dream vacation come true! (And we actually saved money because not only did Citi give Greg vacation pay, they fed us for four whole days! ;)) I love you with my whole heart and soul and cannot imagine my life without you!

Thank you, Citi, for showing Greg that you truly appreciate all he does for your company! Thank you for inspiring your employees to want to do better and be part of the amazing team that Citi is! Thank you for serving our world's communities and demonstrating the importance of being charitable.

Lastly, if anyone reading my post decides that Citi was too extravagant, or wasted money through producing such a huge corporate event, please think about this: with their LEA week at Fontainebleau, Citi pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the economy. Citi's red-carpet production provided employment opportunities for hundreds (if not thousands) of people! Not to mention, the happiness Citi freely gave to their own employees is inspiring! I have nothing but positive things to say about Citi. They are truly trying to make this world a better place, and I applaud them for their successful efforts! :)

1 comment:

  1. Adrie! This is a MASTER CLASS in documenting special moments! Your writing is superb and your pictures are AMAZING!Your thoughts and feelings and insight and especially being a wonderful example which resulted in you being spiritually in tune were a joy to behold!We are a "record keeping people! And now, that's to you, I understand more of what that means!


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