9.22.2014

Hot-lanta!

Last weekend, I packed my bags and headed to Atlanta for 4 days.
I am not going to lie....I was absolutely terrified to fly.
I don't know about you, but ever since I have had kids, flying has made me anxious, especially when I am flying without my kids!
This was my first time flying in 3 years, and the first time in almost 5 that I haven't flown with my kids. And, the fact that I was flying on 9/11....I was just very, very, anxious (and I am not normally an anxious person)
My flight was a red-eye and I was hoping to get a lot of sleep on plane....that didn't happen. I basically prayed the entire 4 hour flight praying that God would protect our plane. And he did :)
The reason I was in Atlanta was because I earned an all expense paid trip to the 2014 Rodan + Fields Convention. I almost didn't go because I had to take 2 days off school and I was nervous to be gone from Kevin & the kids for 4 whole days. But, Kevin was super supportive and told me that I should go since I earned it and it would be a great experience. He was right!
 I got to the hotel and LOVED my view. I stayed at the Westin in Downtown Atlanta and it is 70 stories high. I was on the 50th floor. All the rooms had floor to ceiling windows. Stunning!
Loved being up so high. And, I was thankful that Atlanta doesn't have earthquakes...being on the 50th floor is no joke!
As soon as I got to my hotel at 9am, I took a shower and then took a nap!  Only slept for 30 minutes on the plane, so I was EXHAUSTED. The first session of the day didn't start until 2pm, so a power nap was necessary.
I have never been to any type of convention, so I was totally blown away with how big convention centers are! Wow.
One of the cool things about earning the trip is that I also had access to the VIP lounge, where we had free food & drinks!
I loved the first day of sessions and I learned a lot! 
We headed to dinner that night & I was so excited about Southern food.
Living in California, I wanted to embrace all the yummy southern cooking during my 4 days in Atlanta!
I had a Sweet Tea Lemon Drop Cocktail. Delicious.
For dinner I ordered a Salmon-Fried Green Tomato-Bacon Sandwich topped with a pickle.
Holy Moly it was good.
As a part of earning the free trip, that night we had a Red Carpet Party with Dr. Rodan & Dr. Fields.
Myself and 3 other girls on our team went to the party.
Since I won the trip, I bought myself a new dress! Got my dress {HERE} and shoes {HERE}
As we were walking in, we met Sarah Robbins (who was one of the first R+F consultant & now a 5 million dollar earner! We also meet Lori Bush, who is the President of Rodan + Fields.
 The party was fun & I love meeting the Doctors! They are adorable!
Loved this party! So much fun.
Selfie at the party! We all danced the night away until almost midnight!
When I got back to the hotel room I got to do FaceTime since it was 3 hours earlier in California.
I totally got teary eyed. Lukey kept saying "Mama" and trying to touch me through the phone.
How amazing is the view from my room at night?  I slept with the blinds open because it was so awesome to look at!
Friday was another full day of training.....and it was so exciting because today was the day that Rodan + Fields was announcing it's newest product. We got a sneak peek to learn about it....here we are anxiously awaitint the Doctors to come out & tell us about it!
They have been telling us that it is a breakthrough in technology and that Rodan + Fields have the exclusive rights & patent for 2 years.
Here is Aman Rodan, Katie Rodan's husband who is the Chairman of R+F.  He is hysterical and dances everytime he is on stage.
Seriously...I love the Doctors! Can you believe they are 58 & 59 years old?!?!
The doctors announced the new product...it is called Acute Care.

Acute Care helps get rid of Expression lines.
What are expression lines? Forehead lines, crows feet by your eyes, the "11's" in between your eyes, smile lines, etc.
I was anxious to try the product & was able to buy some when I was at Convention.
I couldn't believe my results after JUST one use!
I have smile lines between my eyes, check out my before & after!!
 Here are some more results from girls on my team:
We were all freaking out about how well it worked after just one use. 
You use the patches 3 times a week for a month and your results last up to 12 weeks!

Acute Care is:
- non-invasive
-a great alternative to fillers
-gives you results in just 1 use
-gives you lasting effects
-is a wrinkle-warrior
-fills wrinkles while you sleep
-no needles required
-just 2 ingredients
-latex free, gluten free & preservative free
-exclusive to Rodan + Fields
This type of product is not available anywhere else!
Send me an email: melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com 
if you would like info on ordering this amazing product before it launches publicly!
After the announcement about Acute Care, we were all going crazy buying it since it isn't public yet!
One of the perks about being at the Convention is that I was able to buy several packs :)

Another highlight of Convention was finally getting to meet my blog friend Ashley. We have been reading each others blogs for almost 5 years and we are both consultants for Rodan + Fields! So fun!
That some of us headed to another Southern restaurnat.
I tried another fun Southern cocktail...a Georgia peach!
For dinner, I had Fried Chicken & mashed potatoes.
And of course, collard greens & black eyed peas!
We ordered 3 desserts to share:
Black Bottom Pie
Peach Cobbler a la mode:
And....Caramel Pecan Pie a la mode.
All 3 desserts were AMAZING. Gotta love Southern Cooking!!!
I just love Atlanta & the South, the last time I was in Atlanta was in 1996, when my parents took us to the Summer Olympics (Read about it HERE)

The next day was the final day of Convention. Those of us who earned the free trip (there was over 200 of us)  had to go on stage & introduce ourselves in front of the 8,000 people that were there. Good thing I don't have stage fright! Eeek!
I am glad I didn't trip since I was wearing heels :)

 We enjoyed a few more training sessions and my friend Lori and I enjoyed our last day in the lounge!
 
 That night was our Gala. It was so fun to get dressed up!

I got my dress {HERE} I really loved my friend Lori's pink dress {HERE} I want to borrow it for my cousin's wedding this Spring!

There was a super fun band at the after party called HYPR. Loved them!
 I stayed up way too late at the after party (2am!!!) and then got up at 6 am (!!!) to catch my flight back home to California.
And, for the first time ever, I got a Starbucks name fail. Maybe I was so tired I couldn't say "Melissa" or maybe in Atlanta, Melissa is pronounced with a Southern drawl like "Lissssa"
I had a lot of peace on my flight home. I wasn't anxious and I was able to sleep the entire flight home. 
I was exhausted!
It was such a fun & amazing 4 days, but I was so, so, so excited to be home!
My only disappointment was that I didn't get to go to Cracker Barrel. I KNOW!!!
You know me, I love, love, love Cracker Barrel. (I even blogged about it HERE)
I was staying in downtown Atlanta & the closest Cracker Barrel was 30 minutes away. Sigh. :)
I got back a week ago and today is the first day I finally feel caught up from being gone!  

On a side note....I am so glad I said "yes" to Rodan + Fields last November. It has truly been a blessing to me personally & financially to our family. It was something I said I would NEVER do. But, I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to go for it. I mean, I had nothing to lose (and I get a great discount on skin care that I believe in! It's a win-win!)
Maybe you are looking for something like this in your life (or maybe you aren't!) 
But, if you are the slightest bit curious about R+F I would LOVE to chat with you about it, send me an email! 
And, good news to all my Canadian readers....we are in our pre-launch stages in Canada right now & this Fall is when the full launch happens. Super exciting times.

Not only am I glad I started doing R+F, I am so glad I decided to go on this trip. 
I was so nervous & scared to be away from my family for 4 days, but I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. Our family theme for this school year is "Be Brave" (You can read about that HERE) and I have been encouraging my girls to be brave all school year, so I knew I needed to take my own advice and Be Brave as well. 
I would have missed out on so many amazing opportunities and friendships if I let fear stand in the way.

9.17.2014

Santa Fe Zuchhini + Squash Boats

Here in California, it still feels like summer.
We are in the middle of a heat wave....it has been in the 90's for over a week and this warm weather will continue through this weekend.
As much as I am ready for Fall (so over the hot weather!!) the hot weather we get in September helps my garden continue to grow. We still have tons of tomatoes, zucchini and squash!
So, even though I am counting down the days until Fall is officially here, I am enjoying the extended crop that my garden is producing.
This has been my best year for zucchini and squash ever, so I have loved trying out new recipes that use zucchini & squash.
In July, I posted Italian Zucchini & Squash Boats {HERE}
I decided to take a new approach to them and give them a Mexican flare.
I think I like them better than my original recipe!
Here is what you need:
- 1 lb of Ground Turkey (I use Jennie-O Lean)
- Packet of Taco Seasoning
- Can of Black Beans, drained
- Can of Corn, drained
- 2 cups of Salsa
- 2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese 
- Zucchini & Squash

Directions:
Brown your Ground Turkey
After your have cooked the meat, add the taco seasoning (and water) according to the taco seasoning directions.
Drain your corn & black beans:
Add the corn, black beans & 2 cups of salsa to the mixture:
Let simmer for 15-20 minutes
While your sauce is simmering, it's time to cut up your zucchini & squash.
  Slice them the long way, like so:
 Then scoop out the insides:
 Lay them on a cookie sheet (I also use parchment paper or my Silpat) and scoop the mixture into each zuchhini or squash:
I use a cookie sheet that has edges so they don't roll off!
Sprinkle your cheese on top:
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.
These were SO full of flavor!!! This is now going to be a go-to meal for us.
They are super healthy & packed with flavor. Delicious!
Enjoy!
Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger

Disclosure: This post was written as part of my participation in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. While Hormel Foods provides me material and necessary resources to complete various activities, the thoughts and statements in this post are my own.

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